Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal
“King Mo” Lawal
We heard from King Mo’s boxing coach Jeff Mayweather yesterday in an interview. Now we’ve got a quote from Mo, who spoke to, about what happened from his perspective at Bellator 90 last week where he suffered a first round knockout loss to Emanuel Newton, and how he plans to deal with it and make adjustments moving forward.

“I have been here before and I bounced back from it, and I will do the same this time. I am going to work more on my defense with Jeff Mayweather and I’m going to go back to my roots and work with Kevin Jackson, and I think I will be just fine. Emanuel did what he had to do and he caught me.”

Mayweather blamed himself, at least partially, for getting Mo in too much of a “boxing mindset” as opposed to an “MMA mindset”. After all, a large part of what got Mo so far so fast, was his incredible wrestling, and the fact that at any moment, if things weren’t going so well on the feet, he could put his opponent on his back — pretty much at will. And when Mo has decided to rely on his wrestling, there have been very few MMA fighters effective in stopping Mo’s shot.

Unfortunately for Mo though, he never got to use his wrestling against Emanuel Newton, although Mayweather said Mo told him right before the punch came he was getting ready to take Newton down because he wasn’t being as effective as he wanted to be on the feet.

With Mo talking about “working on his defense” and “getting back to his roots” with Kevin Jackson, an Olympic gold medalist wrestler and former UFC tournament winner, It sounds like he and Mayweather both understand what happened and have a game plan to make the necessary corrections. What more can you do?

It’s an old boxing axiom that the punch you don’t see coming is the one that hurts you, and apparently that’s exactly what happened in this case with Newton’s spinning backfist. Also, some have suggested Mo was being “cocky” and “arrogant” by standing in front of Newton with his hands down, but Mo said there’s another explanation:

“I didn’t even see the shot. A lot of people saying that I was fighting cocky and with my hands down, but if you watch it, when he missed with his right hand, I threw a right hand and then he came with the spinning backfist. So he kind of caught me in the act of punching, but no excuses, I’m good, and I will be back and hopefully I get to fight him again in the future. It was the first time I had been knocked out, and the good thing is I came to pretty quick. When I saw the ref standing over me, I just said, ‘Damn!’ “

Emanuel Newton moves on the the Bellator Season 8 light heavyweight tournament finals where he will face Mikhail Zayats for $100,000 and a title shot against Bellator light heavyweight champ Christian M’Pumbu. As far as what’s next for Mo, we will likely see him back in Bellator’s light heavyweight tournament next season.

At some point down the road, a rematch between he and Newton seems inevitable. And I’m pretty certain the odds (Lawal – 1175 vs. Newton +975) wil be MUCH closer next time around.

By Jack Bratcher


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